Phone-a-thons require a bit of planning, and should be coordinated with the DSC AFC Coordinator and the Development and Alumni Relations Office as far in advance as possible.

Phone-a-thons can be conducted separately, or in conjunction with letter-writing and/or email appeals.

If a phone-a-thon becomes an annual event for your program, it is best to host it around the same time each year.

Step 1:  Make the decision to solicit program alumni by phone.  (Be sure that you know the specific cause or activity that donations will be supporting.  For example, student travel and research grants.  Also, be sure that all of the appropriate parties agree on how these funds will be distributed, and by whom.)  Currently, September, October, February and March are the best times of year for a phone-a-thon because this coordinates with the GC’s fundraising calendar.

Step 2:  Contact the DSC AFC Coordinator, and have her/him reach out to the Development and Alumni Relations Office to let them know about this decision to organize a phone-a-thon appeal and the cause or activity for which donations will be raised.  Set up a date(s) when you would like student volunteers to help make phone calls.  (Some mechanism needs to be in place to ensure that funds raised go into the appropriate account.  This will be specific to your program and this appeal.)

Step 3:  Ask the AFC Coordinator to find out from the Development and Alumni Relations Office if they can give you a sense of the number of program alumni that could be solicited by phone, and agree on the number of student volunteers that you will ideally recruit to help with these efforts.  (In most cases, you will not want to be soliciting alumni who have already given in this academic year, or who have told the University that they do not wish to be solicited.)

Step 4:  Recruit student volunteers within your program to make phone calls to program alumni.  Volunteers will need to know how much time is required to help with this.  (For example, they should set aside 2 hours in the evening on a particular date.)  Volunteers will also need to know what is involved.  (For example, making phone calls to program alumni.)

Step 5:  Working with the Development and Alumni Relations Office and the AFC Coordinator, get together sample scripts for these phone calls.  They should be scripted from the perspective of a current student.

Step 6:  Reserve an appropriate space in which volunteers can meet and make phone calls.  (For example, phones in the department office could be set aside.)  Ideally calls will be made in the evening, Sunday through Thursday.  (When planning this phone-a-thon, be sure to keep in mind time differences in various parts of the country/world.)

Step 7:  Let the AFC Coordinator and the Development and Alumni Relations Office know where and when volunteers will be meeting, and keep them updated about the number of volunteers recruited to make phone calls.  If your APO is going to be involved in any of this, be sure to keep her/him updated.

Step 8:   Confirm with AFC Coordinator and the Development and Alumni Relations Office that the sample scripts are prepared, and that “contact sheets” (which have the contact information and other details about the alumni being solicited), and pledge forms will be available from the Development and Alumni Relations Office on the date(s) they are needed by the volunteers.

Step 9:  Remind student volunteers about the date, time and location where they are to meet.  Schedule a student leader who is familiar with the solicitation process to oversee the volunteers.

Step 10:  On the date of the phone-a-thon, student volunteers should be given a stack of the “contact sheets” from the Development and Alumni Relations Office, pledge forms, sample solicitation scripts, and a station with a phone.  Volunteers need to do the following for each alumna/us being solicited:

a) Phone the alumna/us on the contact sheet.

b) If the alumna/us is not in, leave a message on the alumnus/a’s voicemail as instructed by the Development and Alumni Relations Office script.

If the alumna/us is available to talk, follow the script the Alumni and Development Office has provided.

c) If the alumna/us wishes to donate, the caller takes down the contact information, pledge amount, etc. on a pledge form.  This information will then be processed (if it is a credit card donation) or if not, then the pledge form will be mailed later by the Development and Alumni Relations Office for the donor to return.  Callers update as much of the contact information on the “contact sheets” (non-working phone numbers, changes of address, etc.) as possible, even if a donation is not made.

d) After the phone call, the volunteer mark off the results on the “contact sheet.”

Step 11:  Once the student volunteers have worked through all of their “contact sheets” (or as many as they can in the time allotted) these sheets should be returned to the student leader.

Step 12:  All of pledge forms and “contact sheets” should be returned by the student leader or the program to the Development and Alumni Relations Office.  A note should be sent to the AFC Coordinator letting her/him know this has been done.

Step 13:  Follow up with AFC Coordinator and the Development and Alumni Relations Office, as needed.

Step 14:  Send thank-you notes/emails to all of the volunteers, and anyone else who helped with these efforts.

Step 15:  Update the student volunteers on the results of these efforts.


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